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Laramie County Ice Bowl disc golf tournament waves winter goodbye on March 23

All proceeds made at the event are donated to a local humanitarian organization.

One of the unique discs players will get to use during the Laramie County Ice Bowl on Saturday, March 23 at Romero Park in Cheyenne. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — As Laramie County’s frigid months draw to a close, residents are squeezing in their final sessions on the slopes or reeling in their last fishes atop frozen ice. However, some Wyomingites are preparing to square off for a different kind of outdoor recreation before winter’s end.

The Laramie County Ice Bowl, which is part of a nationwide disc golf series, is taking place at noon Saturday, March 23 at Romero Park in Cheyenne, rain or shine. All proceeds earned at the event, such as cost for player registration, are donated to a different local humanitarian organization each year.

Ice Bowl is a national series of disc golf tournaments held anywhere from December to March. Local communities host their own tournaments and donate all event proceeds to a charity of their choice. In 2023, 188 communities throughout the U.S. participated and attracted more than 14,000 competitors. Event organizers raised over $520,000 and 37,000 pounds of food, according to 2023 data listed on Ice Bowl’s website.

The sport is seeing more exposure in Laramie County, too. The Disc Golf Community Club Page on Facebook has over 1,000 active members. One of its members is Rick Phillips, who is the event organizer for the Laramie County Ice Bowl. This year’s coming year’s tournament will be his third time hosting it. When he held it for the first time in 2022, he raised $1,150 and amassed a crowd of 46 players. He more than doubled the earnings in 2023, taking in $2,500 from a tournament of 68 players. 

The Laramie County Ice Bowl’s event organizer is Cheyenne resident Rick Phillips, who has been coordinating the competition single-handedly for the past three years. Phillips has chosen to donate to organizations who help combat food insecurity. During his time as the event organizer, he has given proceeds to COMEA Shelter and Meals on Wheels of Cheyenne. For this year’s tournament, he has chosen to donate to Needs Inc. Food Pantry.

Those who compete in the Laramie County Ice Bowl will get to use this disc, a distance driver, during the Laramie County Ice Bowl on Saturday, March 23 at Romero Park in Cheyenne. (Jared Gendron/Cap City News)

“I’d really like to make this more of a complete community event,” Phillips said. His goal is to share the joy of disc golf with as many people as people. “This is all just a passion for me.”

As part of the event, Phillips is providing discs to all registered players. Anyone attending the event can also enter a raffle for various prizes, such as collector discs and gift cards to The Lincoln and Freedom’s Edge Brewing.

The competition is split into 12 divisions:

  • Mixed Pro Open
  • Mixed Amateur 1
  • Women’s Amateur 1
  • Mixed Amateur 40+
  • Mixed Amateur 50+
  • Mixed Amateur 60+
  • Mixed Amateur 2
  • Women’s Amateur 2
  • Mixed Amateur 3
  • Mixed Amateur 4
  • Mixed Junior 18
  • Girls’ Junior 18

The cutoff to register is 10 a.m. the day of the tournament, Phillips said; he wants as many people to participate as possible. The cost to register is $30 for the amateur divisions, $20 for the junior divisions and $40 for the pro bracket. To register, click here or contact Phillips at rick.phillips68@yahoo.com or 307-421-1968.

If you aren’t sure what bracket to register for, check out the Professional Disc Golf Association’s division breakdown here.

Ascent of disc golfing

Disc golf has been seeing a boom in popularity since the late 2010s. The number of disc golf courses available worldwide has more than doubled since 2017, according to disc golf app and website UDisc. The number of rounds scored on UDisc tripled from 2019 to 2020 and has only been growing with time.

The rise in the sport’s popularity is partially a result of the 2020 pandemic lockdowns, Phillips said. This is when he discovered his love for the sport. Like many others, he grew tired of being indoors all the time. By summer of that year, he began spending more time outside and walking his dog at parks in Cheyenne. Phillips frequented Romero Park in south Cheyenne and took notice of the park’s 20-hole course. He decided to give the sport a go.

“It’s a really pure sport,” Phillips said. “When you get an ace, it’s something else.” The sport also primes players to better hone their mind–body connection, a state that Phillips contends is “euphoric.”

The sport allows for a range of player creativity, Phillips said. The recreation is suited well for beginners, too, as it doesn’t present any major physical or financial obstacle to those who want to try it out.

Cheyenne contains a total of 10 courses, according to disc golf app and website UDisc. The city’s variety in course selection grants Phillips plenty of options to choose from every year.